Going Dutch in Slovenia

Rutger de Groot | 9th March 2016
Going Dutch in Slovenia
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Building trust in a new digital market

Walking on the Trg Republike square towards the NLB Bank headquarters, you still see the remainders of a communist past around you. But once inside you see that this was a very distant past. In the fresh and open innovation space that NLB created, you can work and even host events for free. This was a perfect location for our first event in Slovenia. Beelert together with the LSBCNLB and the Dutch Embassy wanted to bring digital professionals from Slovenia and the Netherlands together to meet, share perspectives, build trust and start partnerships. It was very cool to see how a small idea to create more traction in a new market turned into a major digital event in Slovenia.

The Netherlands taking away virtual borders

The Netherlands is the current holder of the EU presidency and was represented by H. E. Mr. Bart Twaalfhoven the Ambassador of The Netherlands in Slovenia. In his opening speech he emphasized that one of the main challenges for the EU presidency lies within taking away virtual barriers between EU markets for doing business. The Digital Single Market Strategy of the European Commission is a good example. It is composed of a long list of instruments, which aims to make sure that businesses can sell digital goods and services all over Europe. Mr. Blaž Brodnjak (Deputy of the President of the Management Board of NLB) on his turn emphasized that a traditional bank like the NLB needs to be connected to digital companies. Not only as customers but also as inspiration to improve the bank itself.

Sharing Dutch digital perspectives

To share practical perspectives we asked our partners Mr. Maxim Spek (CEO of Prospex) and Mr. Boudewijn Wildeman (Head of the Global Digital Center of Excellence at DLL) to join us in Slovenia and deliver a key note on Digital B2B marketing and sales. Maxim immediately challenged the audience on a simple but hard question: what is sales? According to Maxim sales equals trust and trust is the result of many meaningful contact moments in time. These moments are more and more online and therefore you must think about how to deliver meaningful content to your prospects at the right time. Only if you have got the content and processes in place, you can start thinking about digitalizing it through marketing automation.

Maxim Spek: “ Thanks to be part of this inspiring event with all those Slovenian entrepreneurs. NLB Bank offers a true entrepreneurial platform. I feel the turnaround NLB bank is showing here is an interest ing case for the rest of Europe”

Boudewijn shared his challenges in digitalising a large financial company and suggestions to move forward. Big companies like DLL have to deal with challenges in changing B2B buying behaviour, data quality, delivering a good customer experience and retaining a new breed of employees. One of his main imperatives was that big companies must think transformational. You can’t be the next Uber over night and in big organisations it takes time like his Ghandi quote explained: “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win”.

Boudewijn Wildeman: “Great atmosphere, great innovation venue @NLB and a nice mixture of SME and larger companies sharing perspectives on digital transformation in a B2B environment. Well done LSBC , NLB and Beelert !”

Ready steady pitch!

It wasn’t only one-way, we really wanted to get the audience involved and especially the attending startups. Pitching your company is very normal in the Netherlands but in Slovenia a fairly new concept. That’s why it was great to see that 13 people were bold enough to take the stage and present their company in just 1 minute. The event wasn’t about Beelert but I couldn’t let this opportunity go by and pitched us to the Slovenian market.


Sales is about Trust

Slovenia is an advanced digital market and a great gateway towards eastern Europe. But first it is about trust and getting to know people. We were able to connect to a lot of great people because we delivered value first through the event. The feedback was extremely positive and we can’t wait to come back again and create the next meaningful contact moments!

Mr.  Gregor Sakovic (Advisor at NLB): ” This excellent ‘B2B goes digital’ event reinforced the importance of a much needed cultural transformation, beyond technology, as we progress into our digital journey. It was als o an opportunity to expand our ecosystem of partners in the digital space. In particular I wish to thank Beelert for having brought together top-notch speakers and guests from both The Netherlands and Belgium. To be continued.

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